Friday, August 29, 2014

Walking the line

Hello,

I don't know how many posts it is now, nor the years that have ticked by, but making the first mark on the page - so to speak - doesn't get any easier. Lots of ideas and suggestions pop into my muddled brain, but it's only when I take a deep breath, dive in and prattle away madly, like now, that I seem to be able to get going.

Today I saw a poster about elderly LGBT people and their care needs. The poster had a snappy title about not wanting to go back in the closet. Getting old isn't something I really think about, although, with luck, it will arrive very slowly and there'll be a long, slow tail to my time on this rock. In many ways, I don't want to think about it. Not so much the worry about getting older and being less capable, but more that there may be people who I love, who are no longer here.

To a small extend, I was a little worried about a (trans) friend, as I'd not seen her for a number of weeks. I emailed, sent a text and the text came back as number not recognised. Said friend isn't on social media - yes, apparently some people are quite happy without Mr Zuckerberg's Advert Army not knowing about them. :-) - so I was at a loss as to how to get in touch. Anyhoo, Alison turned up and all was well. Just a combination of Real Life, work issues and whatnot getting in the way, not that it didn't stop me worrying something might have happened.

Talking of which, I had a lovely long chat with a new visitor at Chameleons. N. said she was very nervous about coming along, and, well, you do your bit to try and build a person's confidence. The chat was..... I think touching would be the best word. Somber, seems too harsh and wouldn't be accurate.... The conversation was about N's life so far and the sad loss of her wife just a few months ago. I simply listened, nodded and took an active interest in what N had to say, and how her life has played out in these last few months.

For someone who has been what she's been through, I think it showed remarkable courage of her to visit. I think that for those of us who've been active in the trans community, are sometimes, and I know I'm guilty of this, we find going out is second nature. I might be able to remember the first visit, but I can't remember my emotions (partly why I blog, I suppose). When I got home and before the Ever Lovely Mrs J and I nodded off, we had a little chat - pillow talk? - and she asked if this had made me sad. The answer, as I often say, is yes and no. I felt sad for N, but happy that - touch wood - I still have my family.

So, to go back to an earlier paragraph about elderly LGBT people; I wonder how our trans community will find retirement and possibly going into care. The trans spectrum is pretty wide and for a part timer like me, I know I wouldn't fancy a life 'back in the closet' should I go into a home. Well, perhaps I should say fully back in the closet, because I'm not all the way out, so to speak. I wonder if society will be ready for people who've had to - if you pardon the phrase - Walk the Line to get their much deserved respect and freedom to be who they are.

In minor news, I had a bit of a fashion fail on Thursday. To start with, I'd misplaced my boob tape... or fab plasters, if you prefer ;-) That didn't help. Then.... I'd borrowed a skirt from the Ever Lovely Mrs J which she rocks. But on me? I just looked washed out. Luckily, I had packed a spare (always be prepared), which was an old wrap dress. After all the thought about what to wear and the fact that my boobs (figuratively speaking) weren't quite right, I had one of those moments where you look in the mirror and what you'd hoped to achieve, is far from what looks back at you. I wonder, are we our own worst critics? Perhaps. When in doubt, reapply lippy, smile and make the best of it.

Oh, that reminds me. I've moved Our Different Journey to a new location. I should also say a quick thanks to Jonathan for the HTML assistance (thanks, chuck!). A few months ago, I noticed someone was re-posting one or two of the articles and that's not what the site was for. It was a record, a snapshot if you like, of trans people. It wasn't to be traded, or commented on, just there for reference. Partly because some people are in there who I no longer see, and partly because when I first started out, reading how others coped, helped me too. With a little luck, maybe the journeys will help someone else and with a little more, some new journeys will come in time.

Take care,
Lynn

8 comments:

  1. I have to admit that I would happily stop woth FB if it wasn't for the fact that there are a few people I know who I only get to communicate with via it. Sad really...

    If I think of getting old I always think of something I heard on TV one time. Joy is not a great emotion and I am noticing this more and more with the little guy. I am so full of joy with him that I get terrified of what if. And then, if he is in bed, immediately go up and check on him. That is how I see getting older, and those around me getting older - so happy, but what if. And it does get in the way of living here and now. As my therapist said when my dad was diagnosed with cancer: stop getting down, he's not dead yet!

    As for the first time out... I can still remember checking the street to see if there was anyone there and running from the house to the car! How times change over the years :)

    Stace

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    1. True. It [FB] is easier to spark conversations from, rather than email IMO.

      I don't mind a bit of joy - in small doses. That quote of yours reminds me of what my GP said, when I said to him, "I just want to be happy..." He smiled and said: "Only children's TV presenters and those on drugs are always happy.... and it's surprising how frequently those two catchments collide." :-) So, joy in small doses, please. I think it can be the little things that bring joy, like a loving gesture from a partner, or friend; a good day in the park, or other serendipity.

      As to you leaving the house: how things change indeed!

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  2. He smiled and said: "Only children's TV presenters and those on drugs are always happy....[...]"

    That reminds me of a line from a movie I saw once. Upon being told to smile more, the film's perpetually cynical protagonist retorted that only three kinds of people smiled all the time: the mentally retarded, Americans and Christians. I found that line quite amusing (and sadly, it was about the only decent thing in the whole movie!).

    Re FB and other social-networking sites, I'm not on any myself, though I sometimes wonder if I should reconsider. I've lost contact with far too many people over the years, and wonder if going on something like FB would enable me to get in touch with them again.

    Re older LGBT folk, I remember we had an old gay gentleman at the home I work at, for a number of years. For a time, he'd apparently been a member of Les Girls, a famous Australian drag queen and transsexual troupe, and kept a couple of pictures of himself from those days in his room; he'd looked quite good as a woman. From stories he'd told to other staff members, he'd apparently also had a very promiscuous past, which unfortunately caught up with him by giving him a nasty case of syphilitic dementia. (When he was admitted, he told me he'd moved into the home because he was beginning to lose his mind and could no longer look after himself. My initial reaction was "Getouttahere! You sound fine!"; unfortunately, however, it didn't take long for his mental state to deteriorate quite dramatically.) Funnily enough, before seeing what it did to this man, I had this idiotic belief that syphilitic madness was sort of "cool" (after all, hadn't such (in)famous individuals as Idi Amin and Henry VIII suffered from it?); in reality, though, it was no less degrading and horrible than something like Alzheimer's Disease. I must say I was surprised that the disease had progressed to the stage it had in this individual, though, as I thought syphilis had become easily treatable over the last few decades.

    While the above man was the only resident I've encountered at my workplace who was openly LGBT, there was also a woman there that we all used to wonder about. She looked rather "butch", and had apparently told one of the staff that, had society not been so intolerant when she'd been younger, she would've rather shacked up with another woman than marry the man she apparently did.

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    1. A good line and I make take that away, if that's okay :-)

      A somewhat sad story about the chap with the illness, but that's how it goes I supppose. I wonder if we'll have less infections like that, if people are taking more care? Well, assuming people are taking more care! :-)

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  3. The fact that you can borrow clothes from your wife. WOW! Amazing. That's all I have to say about that. I think you know how lucky you are there.

    I like that you always have a back-up plan too. Sounds like someone I know. I wonder if you always identify two exit paths from any location?

    And you know the answer to your own question. Of course, we are our worst critics. I look at you and see the beauty and happiness most girls wish for. I still haven't decided if self-criticism is a good or bad thing in our lives. On the one hand, it makes you feel terrible, but on the other hand it can be the thing that helps you achieve new heights. It's a mixed bag for sure.

    But other than your choice of picture taking venue... LOL! I have nothing to criticize you about. You're like my big sister who can do no wrong.

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    1. True, the openness about being t-something-or-other; being able to chat about things without worrying and the simple pleasure of sharing things (within reason!), is very much a good thing, IMO.

      Re: backup plan: that sound's like something from the Zombieland rules :-)

      14. Always carry a change of underwear
      22. When in doubt, know your way out
      26. A little sun screen never hurt anybody
      32. Enjoy the little things

      Thanks for your kind words re the photo. We did have a backdrop, but it seems to have retired. If I find it, it'll be a nice change. :-)

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  4. "I don't know how many posts it is now"

    467 ;)

    "I should also say a quick thanks to Jonathan for the HTML assistance (thanks, chuck!)."

    No worries. Glad to see it worked :)

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